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Israeli war cabinet divided over plans to scale back Gaza war


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Israel's top government officials are in disagreement about whether to scale back the war against Hamas in Gaza and focus on a more substantial hostage release deal.

War cabinet member Gadi Eisenkot, whose son was recently killed while fighting in Gaza, issued a public call for Israel to engage in serious hostage negotiations. He was joined by fellow cabinet member Benny Gantz, but other members insist that the war against Hamas must continue.

Israel's leaders must "show courage and to lead to a large deal which will bring home the hostages," Eisenkot said this week, according to Israeli media. "Your time is running out, and each day that passes endangers their lives."

Meanwhile, National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir has criticized even the partial withdrawal of troops Israel conducted earlier this month. Defense Minister Yoav Gallant likewise warned that "political indecision" could derail the IDF's efforts in Gaza, according to NBC News.

WHITE HOUSE URGES ISRAEL TO SCALE BACK GROUND OPERATIONS IN GAZA AS WAR HITS 100 DAYS: 'IT'S THE RIGHT TIME'

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly stated that the war against Hamas is expected to continue in some form for "many more months."

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President Biden's administration has urged Israel to scale back its Gaza offensive, but a recent poll shows that Israeli citizens largely oppose listening to that advice. A huge majority of Israeli citizens, 66%, supported continued heavy bombing in Gaza, according to a January 2 poll from the Israel Democracy Institute.

According to the poll, 56% of Israelis believe that continuing intensive fighting in Gaza remains the most effective means of getting their hostages home.

The IDF announced plans to partially scale back its offensive in southern Gaza earlier this week.

Gallant said at a news conference Monday that Israel recently ended its intensive ground operation in northern Gaza after taking military control of the area and that he expected similar action would happen in the south as well.

"It will end soon. In both places we will reach the moment for the next stage," he said, referencing both northern and southern Gaza.

Gallant did not provide specifics as to when troops, tanks and other equipment would be removed from the territory. He also ruled out a cease-fire, saying military pressure on Hamas is the best way to secure the release of the more than 100 hostages still in Hamas captivity.

Fox News' Lawrence Richard contributed to this report

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